Rampant opioid addiction in the U.S. has created a need for more treatment professionals and programs, and Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College are working together to devise solutions. Purdue’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies and Ivy Tech’s Human Services program have established an addiction studies concentration for students to become licensed addiction counselors.
“As the opioid crisis has shown us, the number of people who need addictions or substance abuse services continues to grow,” said Tom Gilliom, CEO of Valley Oaks Health, an Indiana-based community health center. “However, data shows that there are not nearly enough licensed addictions counselors in the state of Indiana to provide the services that are needed. This unique program will produce graduates to assist in filling this significant void.”
This is the first program of its kind at an Indiana public institution to meet the requirements of the state’s bachelor’s level, pre-supervision license in addiction counseling. Students completing Purdue’s human services major with this concentration will have qualifications to meet LACA licensing requirements.
“We wanted to develop this program because we were aware of the serious shortages in the addiction-related workforce,” said Jennifer Dobbs-Oates, a clinical associate professor in Purdue’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, located within the College of Health and Human Services. “The state of Indiana has a bachelor-level license in addiction counseling, but just because the license exists doesn’t mean that there are educational programs that meet all those license requirements. We set out to create a program that would graduate students who were qualified for licensure and who could immediately contribute to solving the addiction crisis facing our state and our nation.”
It’s a seven-course concentration given in addition to existing human services classes at Purdue, with only students enrolled in the major being able to add the concentration. Students will enroll in five of the courses through Ivy Tech, which will all be offered online in eight-week terms. Courses are available through the fall, spring and summer sessions. Students completing the program will earn an Addiction Studies Certificate from Ivy Tech, along with a Purdue bachelor’s degree.
“The partnership with Ivy Tech Community College is key, because they already have the addiction-specific expertise that is needed,” Dobbs-Oates said. “Through this partnership, we take our existing human services program, which provides a really rich general preparation in social services provision plus an in-depth capstone internship, and we pair it with some addiction-specific coursework from Ivy Tech.”